MEEKER I At the Meeker Board of Education (BOE) meeting on March 17, Meeker Elementary School Principal Kathy Collins, acting as interim superintendent in the absence of Mark Meyer, requested board approval of resignations from high school principal Kim Ibach, and 26-year chemistry and math teacher, Bev Devore-Wedding.
Both resignations were accepted by the board in one motion, without any discussion.
After the vote, when asked why Ibach’s letter was dated Jan. 13, board president Bill deVergie said he didn’t know, but that Meyer had told him he had received the letter the week of March 9. Meyer was out of town, reportedly interviewing for his next job, and was not available for comment.
Dr. Ibach was not immediately available for comment, but later told the Herald Times that when she and her family came to Meeker two years ago from North Carolina, they envisioned Meeker being centrally located to a lot of friends and family scattered from Arizona to the Front Range, Grand Junction and Wyoming.
She said they hoped to share Sunday dinners with some of these friends and family, but it just hadn’t worked out that way. They hope to move closer to some of these folks, she said, adding that she has some options but has no definite plans at this time.
Ibach also said she thought she and the high school had accomplished a lot of what she was asked to do when she came. She said she had very much enjoyed the school staff and the people of Meeker, and certainly enjoyed living in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
The Ibachs, she said, are already looking forward to returning to Meeker, she said, to visit friends and go fishing. In terms of the timing of her resignation, Ibach reported that she wanted to “give the district plenty of time in the hiring cycle to be able to get the best person for our amazing kids.”
Devore-Wedding reported that while she told the district in February that her intentions were to stay with her three-year science education doctorate program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, despite the board not extending her “leave-of-absence” status, she didn’t know that Meyer was going to submit her resignation for her.
She told the Herald Times, from Nebraska, that she “had hoped to write a very positive resignation letter to the board that thanked the school district for her long-standing opportunity to really make a difference for Meeker kids” in the realm of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Regarding property matters, the board was asked to sign off on the New Eden Pregnancy Center’s intent to match the $41,513 high bid that had been submitted by former county sheriff Si Woodruff.
Woodruff was there to present his concerns about the situation. Woodruff, who owns property next to the old kindergarten building, did not feel it was legal for the district to allow a matching bid opportunity for public property.
Furthermore, Woodruff felt the board had made a serious error in setting up the sealed bid arrangement the way they had. He said the possibility of a match by the New Eden Center kept other bidders away and lowered the bids received. He added that he would be willing to raise his bid to $45,000 to $50,000, but that if the board was going to persist in allowing New Eden to purchase the building, then he would take his bid off the table and the board could allow New Eden to purchase the building for the offer of the next highest bidder (Regas Halandras at $32,500). The board moved into executive session to review their New Eden transaction and Woodruff’s concerns.
Coming out of their executive session, deVergie announced that the board would stick with the sealed bids and the New Eden Center having the high bid match opportunity just as they had advertised, that the board “was not going to start adjusting bids.”
Board member Bud Ridings also suggested that the board give some consideration to the fact that the New Eden Center provides a good and important service to the community. The board later unanimously approved the sale to New Eden, unless New Eden can’t meet the bid, in which case it would revert to Woodruff.
At Meyer’s request, the board considered a motion to approve the entire slate of 39 certified (teaching) staff in all three schools, 13 probationary (first year) and 26 established teachers, in addition to the two remaining principals for continuation into the next school year.
Board member Todd Shults said he thought the two administrators and perhaps three teachers he had some questions regarding should be discussed and voted on separately, and he asked to amend the motion to that effect.
deVergie stated that the motion on the floor could not be amended, but that if it failed, Shults could then make another motion. The motion, however, passed on a 4-2 vote with Shults and Ridings in the minority. Board Vice President Mindy Burke had left the seven-member board meeting to attend the high school girls’ basketball banquet.
The board has a policy that states, with regard to the board’s agendas, that a consent or “blanket” agenda is allowable for those items which usually do not require discussion or explanation as to the reason for board action. The policy further states, however, that “Any board member may request the withdrawal of any item under the consent grouping for independent consideration.” This policy was neither invoked nor mentioned.
Heather Burke as the head middle school track coach, Marty Casey as middle school first assistant track coach and Brittany Shubnell as second assistant track coach were also approved by the board.
The board also approved a special board meeting for Friday, April 3 at 4 p.m. to interview superintendent candidates. This meeting will be held at the administration building and will be open to the public.